The destefashioncollection was conceived by the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art as a novel approach to evaluating and interpreting fashion. Each year between 2007 and 2014, the Foundation commissioned an artist familiar with the fashion industry to reinterpret five to ten inspiring designs from that year’s international fashion collections—the selected artist’s related works then completed capsule collections #1-8.
The show was presented again at The Bass Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, FL from APR 27-SEP 2, 2018. Adapted by The Bass in collaboration with the DESTE Foundation, the exhibition design in Miami Beach was created by architect Edwin Chan and marks the first time the collection has been exhibited in its entirety within the United States.
This classic leather oxford is surfaced with a glazed cork skin. Harvested from cork oak trees, bark tissue is boiled in water to break down its cell structure, then dried and shaved into thin sheets pliable enough to shape over a curved surface. The soft wood is glued to a leather lining and finished with a glossy protective sealant. First introduced in plate IV
A step removed from Jackie O’s glamorous, oversize sunglasses, the Yuwano model features lenses disengaged from their frames, breaking the pure functional relationship between the two. The circular Zeiss lenses misalign with their gratuitously large acetate frames. This excess superimposes a cartoonish expression on the face that it hides. First introduced in plate VIII
Both tomboy and femme, this hybrid shoe grafts the upscale Isabel Marant wedge onto the classic Converse All Star sneaker. The casual punk of the sport shoe submits to the drama and sexuality of the high heel, subverting its function and the gendered associations of both. First introduced in plate IX
A simple string of freshwater pearls—the ultimate symbol of conservative femininity and upscale elegance—is severed and slung over part of the neck. The piece can be seen as a broken necklace suspended by the ears and also as a single earring stretching from lobe to lobe. First introduced in plate XI
Maintaining the classic shape of 1970s Austrian military trainers, these sneakers are crafted from napa leather with soft suede detailing and a gum outsole. Seemingly spontaneous but actually calculated in execution, the drops of paint all over the shoes emulate the irreverent machismo of Jackson Pollock. What appear to be chance splatters are actually crafted by an artisanal hand. First introduced in plate XII
A shawl made from the skin of a single animal (its head included), the fur stole was once the accessory of choice of the Hollywood glitterati. Acknowledging that the stigma of animal slaughter is now part of the cultural conscience, this ethical translation of the traditional garment takes the fox stole’s form but replaces animal hide with muslin—the cheap, generic cloth used in tailoring to test fit a garment before a finer material is used. First introduced in plate XIII
In updating traditional smoking, the e-cigarette forgoes the smoke but preserves the act—selling a simulated, sterilized cool. Its skeuomorphic design retains the slender form of a traditional cigarette, but inside, a battery-operated atomizer vaporizes a liquid solution of nicotine and flavorings that is inhaled and exhaled as steam rather than smoke. A spectral blue glow intensifies upon inhalation, re-creating the light of the smoker’s pull. First introduced in plate XIII
This simple sling-back pump is both present and absent. The “nude” shoes are intended to match the skin of the wearer but are far from invisible. The latex surface has a fetishistic medical sheen, and the bright magenta multilooped bow—an accessory to the accessory—concentrates the shoe’s erotic charge into a moment of pure feminine excess. First introduced in plate XIV
The reveal-and-conceal concept of the fishnet stocking has endured as a symbol of illicit eroticism even as most other once-risqué fashion has merged with the mainstream. These thigh-highs take the diamond fishnet pattern to an extreme, stretching the netting so wide open that the legs seem on the verge of falling through. First introduced in plate XV
This headband conjoins the mourning veil of Victorian era Christianity and the bunny ears of contemporary American soft-core porn. The veil reflects the binary ideology that plays out in much of modern women’s fashion—for the young, a childlike costuming that suggests an infantilized adult sexuality, and for the no longer young, a matronly mummification, sexlessly entombing face and body as if death has already arrived. First introduced in plate XVI